For those who know me, I’m an arm-chair football fan. I don’t know how to read a defense or where every player went to college. But I do love watching the game – and for better or worse, it’s America’s game. Preface: I’m not really a Cam Newton or Carolina fan… but this subject has just bugged me all day long.
Yesterday was the game of all games – or at least it was supposed to be. Super Bowl 50, with the nearly undefeated Carolina Panthers and the never-give-up Denver Broncos. All week long chatter was all about the incredible athleticism and unconventional antics of Cam Newton versus the more mature, seasoned and “gentlemanly”, Peyton Manning. Both teams with top rated defenses, both teams with hopeful quarterback leaders. It should have been quite the game.
The game, in my opinion, was a bit of a let down. Defensively, both teams shined – like really shined. Offensively, both teams came up pretty short. But what the internet is buzzing about today is just how bad Cam Newton looked and how bad he handled himself. It was classic. Superman, was shown to be nothing but a man… who could be beat. Again and again and again. And it wasn’t pretty. No dabs. No smiles. No running into the end-zone and celebrating. Instead we saw frustration, rolling eyes, tantrums and finally an ungraceful walk out of a press conference.
Here’s what I’m bummed about… it seems like everyone loves the fall of Cam Newton. He didn’t beat his kid, or his girlfriend. He didn’t use performance enhancing drugs, or any other drugs that we know of. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t kill anyone. But he lost the Super Bowl, badly – and everyone loves it, and that he had it coming to him.
Seems like we love to see the fall…
Here’s my thoughts. The guy is a superstar quarterback – there’s no denying that fact. He’s also 26. Do you remember being 26? Did you say and do stupid, immature things? (PS – if you’re around 26, you’re probably saying and doing stupid, immature things, you just don’t know it yet). Did you feel invincible? None of us want to be defined by our worst moments. And last night was one of Cam Newton’s worst moments, as a player, leader, and role-model.
What do we need in our worst moments? We need grace. We need people who love us to surround us, be honest with us, challenge us, and yet still be “on our side”. I hope that Cam Newton has some of those people in his life – I’m sure he does. And I hope he’s able to sift through the wave of internet hate, get back on his feet – a little more humble, a little more mature – and do what all us football fans want him to do: play great football.
Maybe rather than pointing and waving the finger at people when they fail, we should try and help them back up and not join the mob.